Updated March 3, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
Unlike most teams in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins got some early clarity for their draft strategy. While teams were in pre-combine meetings with their scouting staffs, the Redskins were able to resolve the biggest question for their offseason with the trade for veteran quarterback Alex Smith. The Smith acquisition cleared up the question of Kirk Cousins and also took the Redskins out of the market for a first-round quarterback. In speaking to Washington sources, they think there could be an opportunity to move down in the first round, and they have a number of options they will consider in the early rounds.
With the 13th-overall pick in the first round, the Redskins feel they are in a good spot to move down, as Buffalo and Cleveland were picking in that range last year when they traded down with Kansas City and Houston, respectively. The Redskins gave up a third-round pick in the Smith trade, but they are highly likely to get a third-round compensatory pick in the 2019 NFL Draft for losing Cousins in free agency. Where the Redskins are picking, there could be some quarterback-needy teams looking to move and potentially grab a signal-caller who slipped out of the top 10, similar to Deshaun Watson last year. Some potential trade partners include Buffalo and Arizona.
The Redskins are keeping their draft options open. They would like to add more talent to the defensive line, and they like Alabama nose tackle Da'Ron Payne. On offense, Washington is in the market for a guard. It would also consider adding more talent at wide receiver, and would really like a feature running back. In the second round, the Redskins like a group of running backs including Sony Michel, Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones and Kerryon Johnson. They don't believe that Michel or Guice will get to their second-rounder, but if they move down in the first round, they could have more ammunition to move around the draft board in the following rounds.
In the mid-rounds, the Redskins could consider a young quarterback to groom behind Alex Smith. Two names to keep an eye on are Washington State's Luke Falk and Richmond's Kyle Lauletta. In the middle of the draft, either one could be a developmental backup that fits Jay Gruden's offense well.
Washington has a lot of options available, and sources with the Redskins feel they are in excellent position to upgrade their team in the early rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.